Project management—not just for work

Some people do not understand project management is not just an at-work activity. I use project management techniques for my quitting all the time. Why? Because quilting, from design to the actual quilting, takes time. Things have to be done in order; there is a budget, and usually a time constraint.  Sometimes there are material constraints and size constraints.

For those unfamiliar with quilting; the projects I am working on now are a class sampler, 3 challenge quilting projects, a birthday project for my granddaughter, and a new flannel quilt for my family.

The class sampler quilt has a time constraint, in that it has to be done before the class listing is published by the store I am teaching the class at publishes. Most people don’t sign up for classes if they can’t see what the finished result will be. It also has a budget constraint, the more it costs me to make the less income I have from teaching the class. It has a quality constraint, store owners and class takers look for quality. There are usually material constraints, store owners want their patterns and fabrics in the sampler…it is a symbiotic relationship. Challenge quilts, have time constraints, size constraints (normally), material constraints most of the time—they provide fabrics that you must use, quality constraints, rework, etc. You get the idea.

Then there is work (you know—that thing that pays the bills), family time, unexpected issues (risks) like bad weather that knocks out the power, illness, family drama, work drama. Oh, there is cooking and cleaning…but managed properly, it can all get done, on time, in budget, with good quality and within the proper constraints.

I begin making Christmas presents the 1st of June….

I blog about quilting at: Fiddlesticks and Humility

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Risk-those pesky potential problems

As defined by PMBOK”…an uncertain event or condition that, if it occurs, has a positive or negative effect on a project’s objective.”

As PM’s we manage risk by spending  time identifying, analyzing, planning response/mitigation plans, tracking,  controlling and communicating about project risks.  We even look at Secondary and Residual risks.

Post mortems or lesson learned activities after a project often lament risks that occur, the negative impacts they’ve had….but many seem to forget that  POSITIVE  risks need to be reviewed as well—and sometimes they need to be celebrated, not just treated as “expected” results because they were positive.

How do you recognize positive risks?

Disaster Preparedness

Part of risk mitigation should include disaster preparedness and or recovery discussions. Does your company have a plan/plans? Is your team local or virtual? Do you know all the contingencies?

For example, teams in California, Alaska and Hawaii (the 3 most seismically active states) have a different set of disaster needs/plans that those who live in hurricane or typhoon locals.  How about those in tornado country, wild fires prone areas, tsunami areas, or airport take-off or landing approaches (the most likely areas for plane crashes)? Do you have team members in South America or Africa that have war or guerilla insurgency activities about them?

When disasters strike; not everyone stays calm, even if they have well rehearsed disaster plans. Employees, beyond the immediate issues of their own health and those closest to them at the time of an occurrence, soon shift focus to their families. Do you have remote team members who will need assistance…do you know? It is worth discussing with you team. There may be hidden risks you are unaware of. If you can help them, you reduce your/company risk, while being a pretty decent human being. Business is (or at least should be in my opinion) all about people, and our relationships with them.

And then there is the disaster recovery.  Are you sure everything is being backed up? Can you retrieve it? Can other team members retrieve it? What happens if …. You need to ask the questions and rate the risk accordingly.